Staff
     
 
Christian Huygen
Christian Huygen
Christian Huygen has served as Executive Director of Rainbow Heights Club since 2002.  He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The New School for Social Research. Dr. Huygen began working with LGBT consumers over in 1995, as a volunteer at an AIDS hospice in San Francisco. His research interests include autobiographical and social remembering, consumer satisfaction, and quality of life.  Before he came to New York City to become a psychologist, he was an actor, writer and playwright; his play Waiting for Godette, starring Justin Bond, was produced at Theater Rhinoceros in 1993.  He co-authored articles on Rainbow Heights Club for the journal Best Practices in Mental Health and the anthology Community Mental Health:  21st Century Challenges.
christianhuygen@rainbowheights.org


Kevin Garrity

Kevin Garrity is the Director of Outreach and Development. Kevin came to Rainbow Heights in 2005 with a long history of for profit and not for profit corporate development and management. He has helped guide many organizations to sustainability through funding diversification and administrative capacity development both on the staff and board levels. Kevin also represents Rainbow Heights Club in Albany and at NY City Hall, where he advocates for more and better access to services for our community.
kevingarrity@rainbowheights.org


Rebecca Hoffman

Rebecca Hoffman, LMSW, is the Director of Member Services and a native New Yorker.  For over 20 years, both personally and professionally, she has been a part of community-based efforts for peace and justice.  She served as the Community Building Coordinator at SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders) and as a member of The Lesbian Avengers, a direct action group focused on issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility.  She has worked in domestic violence prevention and senior services case management, and as a Brooklyn College professor.  She studied social work at Hunter College, where she earned her MSW, and Fordham University, where she earned her SIFI certificate.  In her free time, she likes to swim, dance The Hustle, and walk her dog. 
rebeccahoffman@rainbowheights.org



Randy Killings

Randy Killings, CASAC-T, New York Certified Peer Specialist, Intake & Member Services Coordinator, just earned his CASAC (Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor) diploma from the Outreach Training Institute in Queens, New York. He is also a graduate of the Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy Center. Randy is a resident of Brooklyn, New York, living with his partner, and has been in the Human Services field for eight years.  Randy has experience working with autistic children and with homeless populations.  Randy’s hobbies are dancing, modeling and playing handball.  Randy’s goal is to enter into social work in the future because he loves to assist people, who like him, live with a mental illness.  Randy identifies as a gay man and is proud to be working with LGBTQ people who live with mental illness.
randykillings@rainbowheights.org



Nichole Latimer

Nichole Latimer serves as the Electronic Outreach Coordinator at Rainbow Heights Club.  Her work experience has been primarily in communications and social media strategy in the nonprofit sector.  Currently, she is pursuing an M.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, where she also earned her B.A. in Gender and Sexuality Studies.  Her most recent research project examined alternative models of political organizing and centered the political visions of nonmetropolitan gender nonconforming youth. She is excited to be part of the team at Rainbow Heights Club.
nicholelatimer@rainbowheights.org



Musa Watanabe

Musa Watanabe, New York Certified Peer Specialist, is originally from Tokyo, Japan, and has been living in New York City for over 20 years. After having been a member of Rainbow Heights Club for eight years, she was hired as a Member Clerical Intern in 2010. In April 2011, Musa began her current position as a Peer Specialist. Through attending at Rainbow Heights Club as a member, she believes that the club has given her hope and strength to survive. Therefore, her motive to work at Rainbow Heights Club is to help fellow members of Rainbow Heights Club to gain hope, recovery and happiness they deserve without living with stigma and discrimination from bias against LGBT people with mental illness. In June 2018, she received her degree of Bachelor’s of Science in Paralegal Studies from CUNY, New York City College of Technology (ABA Approved). She considers applying for a graduate school to further pursue her goal to be a better advocate for those who need help. She is an avid tennis fan, and she loves traveling.


musawatanabe@rainbowheights.org



Sunny Rivera

Sunny Rivera, New York Certified Peer Specialist, is a Peer Specialist at Rainbow Heights. Sunny has worked in the social services field for almost three decades. Her previous experience has covered a diverse range of areas such as providing mental health services and helping children with developmental disabilities. Sunny later expanded her skill set to include substance abuse treatment and has been involved with recovery work for over a decade. Sunny is particularly interested in helping support clients who are re-entering into society after periods of incarceration. She would like to combine her knowledge of substance abuse and recovery to help individuals maintain their well-being and decrease recidivism rates. Sunny is grateful to Rainbow Heights for the opportunity to further her knowledge and capabilities as a mental health counselor.

sunnyrivera@rainbowheights.org



Allen Minor

Allen Minor is a New York Certified Peer Specialist at Rainbow Heights Club.  He comes to Human Services work following many years working as an architectural and engineering draftsperson and custom picture framer.  As a student at the University of New Mexico, Allen partnered to establish New Mexico’s first LGBTQ student union.  He has also volunteered to provide peer support to inpatients at Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, and to provide support and practical assistance to people living with AIDS as an “AIDS Buddy” through AIDS Related Community Services.  As a student at Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy Center, Allen completed his internship at Rainbow Heights Club, and now he is proud to be a part of the Club’s professional team.  He is especially grateful for the opportunity to develop his support and advocacy skills and to help others who, like him, identify with the LGBTQ community and live with mental illness.  In his spare time Allen enjoys reading, writing, drawing, walking, bike riding, and exploring New York City’s many wonderful museums.

allenminor@rainbowheights.org



Cesar Munoz

Cesar Munoz is a New York Certified Peer Specialist at the Club. He is from Ecuador and studied at the Institute for Career Development. He is passionate about the mission of Rainbow Heights Club. The hospitality from the staff and members has made him feel at home. He says: "Now, whatever other people say, I trust myself, I feel secure about who I am. People here are confident and respectful. I've learned so much here. Everyone here gets a second chance. No what issues you have faced in your life, you have a chance to relax and make a positive contribution to society. Rainbow Heights Club is helping people do just that."


cesarmunoz@rainbowheights.org



Bernis Young

Bernis Young is the newest Peer Specialist at Rainbow Heights Club and brings skills developed at Howie the Harp Advocacy Center to the Club.  He is a fun, energetic, and understanding person. His hobbies are reading, writing, listening to music, and comic book collecting. He loves giving back to those in need with advice and being able to meet them where they are. He looks forward to continuing to work with all the members.


bernisyoung@rainbowheights.org


Sabrina Photo
Sabrina Jeanbaptiste

Sabrina Jeanbaptiste is a Master’s student in the Mental Health Counseling program at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. She is also employed at Harvest Home as a program coordinator working with low income communities.  She advocates for kids and parents to come to Play Streets in the summer for safe play and exercise. Children will always be a part of her life. She plans on owning a clinic and a non-profit organization after obtaining the MHC license. Fun Fact: Sabrina love dogs. If possible, she would run her own farm for rescued dogs where they can experience happiness and freedom!


Jake
Jake Aubrt

Jake Aubrt is currently working towards his Mental Health Peer Specialist New York Certification. He is a trainee from Community Access ThriveAtWork employment program. Jake is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to be part of Rainbow Heights Club as an intern, and he is eager to learn from the staff members. Jake is a Nichiren Buddhism practitioner and also attends twelve steps meetings regularly as part of his own journey. He loves to attend live concerts, walk around the city and go to the movies. 


Lupe
Guadalupe Burgara

Guadalupe Burgara is a first-year clinical MSW student at New York University. She is originally from California but made the move to the East Coast to further her education at her dream school. She is passionate about helping with various social justice issues, having interned with the Woman’s National Law Center with  incarcerated inmates. She truly believes that to be a highly skilled and proficient social worker, you must be trained to assist people from different backgrounds including LGBT community. During her free time, one of her favorites hobbies is participating in arts and crafts. She also is a dog lover! Overall, she is excited to connect with the RHC members as she learns and grows as a social worker.


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Mark Pelipiche

Mark Pelipiche enjoys volunteering at Rainbow Heights because it helps him have something positive to do each day. It makes him feel good to give back to the community and have a sense of purpose and something to look forward to. Some of Mark’s tasks at Rainbow Heights are food handling, prepping meals as well as assisting staff and new interns with cooking dinner for our members. Mark states, “Coming to Rainbow Heights puts me at ease. I can always look forward to having extra support from staff and my peers.” Mark also enjoys listening to music and playing with his two small dogs Pepper & Julie.

 


 

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